Decorating ideas for a small apartment

For the past eight years, I have lived in downtown Portland, Oregon. Sharing 555 square feet with two cats and my husband Rob. Here are my tips for living happily in an itty bitty space.

Location, Location, Location

The old adage is true! The first rule to urban living is finding a location you love. Whether that means walking distance to shops, proximity to work or a safe neighborhood. Having a good location improves your quality of life and that pays dividends in the long run.

A View to Greet You

Our view looks directly onto a beautiful eighty-eight year old Cathedral.  I realize that a view like this is not common, but remember you will be stuck with your view every single day. The Church greets me every morning and the intricately patterned stained glass windows tuck me into bed every night. When you sacrifice space,  a good view slaps you in the face, reminding you why you love your home.
Curate a Quality Collection 

Since space is limited, don't waste money on things you don't love. It might seem like a no brainer, but it is tempting to fill an empty space with something, even if you swear it is only temporary. Save your money! You'd be surprised how quickly 'temporary' fixes hang around.  It's okay if it takes time to save the money and find the right thing. Quality wins out in the end.

Furniture that does Double Duty

This secretary desk was in my Aunts family for generations and made the journey over from Sweden, it has so many nooks and crannies, I am able to squirrel away untold treasures. This piece ticks all the boxes for me, it is beautiful, compact and provides ample storage.

The Little Luxuries 

Flowers freshen up your home in a flash and don't take up a lot of space. I go for large & dramatic floral pieces. I keep it simple with branches, like the magnolia branches shown or maple branches and evergreens. Set your budget (I spent $10 dollars a week) and stick to it.

Thanks for taking a tour of my tiny home! 

Make an impact by the door :: Planters paired with house numbers

Image of Flower planter with house numbers

Looking to make a good first impression on your guests? 

Why not add a planter by your door and add some fresh greens from the garden! I like to select flowers from the garden and mix them in with some potted plants. It's an easy way to make a big impact on your entry way without having to stress.  

Image of Flower planter with house numbers

Pro tip to make your life easier: Soak floral Oasis with water and place inside the container if you don't want to plant flowers. Another alternative: use floral frogs at the base of the container or make a tape grid inside the container to keep the flowers upright.

All images & content by: Elizabeth Aley

Striped Painted Wall :: Our Bedroom

While fumbling through my photo heap in Dropbox, I found this picture of our bedroom circa 2012.

Honestly, not a whole lot has changed in the room. We still have those light gray and white striped walls, the four poster Ikea bed frame, the Pottery Barn medicine lamps, the slip covered night stands and the antique French chairs. Every season, I still I fill our tall vases with fresh branches and bring the outside in.

That furry pillow, our cat Biscuit, has since passed away. It was the picture of him that stopped me on this image. I never shared this image before. At the time, I didn't think the bedroom was up to snuff. Looking at it now, I love it and realized I must be doing something right, if I have barely changed a stitch in the room. Still wish I had that furry little pillow, though. I miss that boy.  

Dede Wood's California Country Home

A well designed home is about the details. Dede Wood's house in Santa Ynez Valley is filled with subtle features that bring everything together:  the antiques, the fabrics and the nonchalant kitty crossing your path. There is something special about this home and you are reminded everywhere you turn.

Not enough? Here are more images of Dede's house

Almost didn't publish this

I write a lot things that I don't publish. I am my own worst editor. It's never done, never quite what I wanted to say. Sometimes I think of one clever line and I can't surround it with a suitable supporting cast, so I'll stop writing altogether.

I'll probably read this exact paragraph over and over again, until my eyes bleed. Editing is like an unraveling thread for me, I'll try to fix the sweater, but end up with a heap of yarn in my hands. Life is like that sometimes. I try to do everything right and mess the whole thing up.

 In This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Ann Patchett says this about writing:

"Only a few of us are going to be willing to break our own hearts by trading the living beauty of imagination for the stark disappointment of words. This is why we type a line of two and then hit the delete button or crumble up the page. Certainly that was not what I meant to say! That does not represent what I see. Maybe I should try again another time. Maybe the Muse has stepped out back for a smoke."  

Later in the essay, Patchett acquits writing to plucking a butterfly from her mind and killing it on the page. Looking through all my unpublished blog posts is like looking at my collection of dead butterflies. I'll open one up and run the other way, because I can't deal, so I'll write something else to abandon.

I didn't make any New Years resolutions for 2014, but maybe this year I will get the courage to show you all my dead butterflies. It may not be pretty, but at least it is honest.

Home in Portland

The view from our balcony

My husband Rob and I are thinking about moving. We have called this place home for 8 years and for all of my house/baby lust, the truth is I don't want to leave. If and when we leave, I know I will cry. Rob and I built our family here.

I was told never to get emotionally attached to "property", but I just can't manage that, so I haven't even tried. I pray that even when we do move, we can keep it. Rent it to a nice couple with cats and come back in our old age. 

Portland Opulence

This house once belonged to a friend of the family. But they sold it before I was born, so I never had the pleasure of passing the threshold. It is tucked away in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Portland called the West Hills. I have always wondered about this home.

Monaco Blue :: Neo-Traditional House Color

Pantone Monaco Blue House

Pantone selected Monaco Blue as a trending color for Spring 2013. As with most trends in the fashion industry, they tend to trickle down to every facet of life.  While I have no idea when this house was painted, I applaud the color choice and marvel at the chutzpah it took to see it through.

Catch of the Day

Harvest is my favorite time of year. The flower market is spilling over with beautiful treats and the bounty of the season is ripe for the picking.

I pouched these limelight hydrangeas form my Mother's garden. Nothing like fresh caught flowers.

Cheers to a bountiful Autumn...

English Country Revival Style House

English Country Revival House

House stalking continues.

This English Country Revival House is the reason I play the lotto. The reason I work my little buns off. One day English Country Revival House, one day...

When I started blogging (way back in ol' 2009) I was blogging about flowers and just finding my way post college. Then I bought a fancy camera after accidentally flinging my trusty point and shoot off of the balcony to the pavement below. It was toast.

When I got my big girl camera, I took a community college class and learned how to actually use it. That was turning point for me as a person. I had taken photography in high school, but something clicked when I started art directing photo shoots. It feels right, just like this English Country Revival house.